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  Development of Advanced Anode Materials for Proton-based Solid Oxide Fuel Cells

   School of Chemical Engineering

   Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Project description: This aim of this project is to develop a next generation hydrogen production technology, proton-based solid oxide electrolysis cell, that can effectively support the rapid growth of intermittent renewable energy generated from solar and wind sources. In recent years, there has been a global focus on renewable and sustainable energy, highlighting the urgent need for reliable and affordable grid-scale energy storage. While batteries serve as suitable options for short-term stationary energy storage, they prove less viable for long-term energy storage and the transportation of renewable energy. To address this challenge, researchers are turning to emerging technologies such as water electrolysis using solid oxide cells (SOCs). These SOCs are considered the most efficient and cost-effective solution for hydrogen production from renewable energy due to their favorable thermodynamics and kinetics. Moreover, they hold great potential in overcoming the issue of seasonal energy storage. Commercially available oxide-ion-conducting SOCs (O-SOCs), typically yttria-stabilized zirconia, which operate at temperatures exceeding 750 °C. These SOCs offer several advantages, including fuel flexibility, high efficiency, and the absence of expensive noble metal catalysts. However, the extreme operating conditions and high temperatures contribute to rapid degradation. To mitigate these challenges, researchers are exploring the use of proton-conducting solid oxide electrolysis cells (H-SOECs), which can lower the operating temperature to approximately 400-600 °C by virtue of their higher conductivity and lower activation energy. Nonetheless, even at 500 °C, the air electrode performance of H-SOECs lags behind that of O-SOECs due to significant polarization resistance associated with the air electrode. In this project, the focus lies on developing an exceptionally efficient air electrode for the next generation of H-SOECs, capable of triple conduction (H+/O2-/e-). Success in this endeavor hinges upon the discovery of fundamentally novel materials designs, combined with state-of-the-art in situ instrumental techniques and advanced computational methods. As a result, substantial improvements in the activity and stability performance of the air electrode are anticipated. Based on my extensive experience working with industry partners in the field of SOC, I am well positioned to lead this project. The success of this project thus addresses a very important and practical air electrode issue for protonic solid oxide cells at low temperature (below 600 °C).

University of Adelaide

The University of Adelaide is one of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in Australia and is also a member of Australia's " Go8 Universities ". Times Higher Education ranked 88th in the world in 2023. Since its founding in 1874, it has built a solid reputation for excellence in teaching, academics and research success. The University of Adelaide has 5 Nobel Prize winners in its history and has trained 110 Rhodes Scholars.

Energy and Catalytic Materials Center, In-Situ Analysis and Testing Center

Under the leadership of Professor Qiao Shizhang, the University of Adelaide established the Center for Materials in Energy and Catalysis (CMEC) in 2018. The center uses a combination of experiments, advanced characterization and theoretical calculations to develop efficient, economical and industrially promising materials for energy and catalysis. In addition, under the leadership of Professor Qiao Shizhang, the University of Adelaide will establish an in-situ analysis and testing center in 2020.

Primary supervisor: Xiaoyong Xu,()

Student requirements: We are looking for a highly motivated candidate with Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering a related field from reputable universities. The candidate will preferably have a Master degree or work experience in electrochemistry or high-temperature research field.

How to Apply: If you are ready to seize this remarkable opportunity, please submit a comprehensive application including your CV, academic transcripts, and a brief paragraph introducing yourself, your motivation, and your interests to ()

We look forward to receiving your application.

Chemistry (6) Engineering (12) Environmental Sciences (13) Materials Science (24) Physics (29)

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